World, Economy, Middle East

US recognition hurts Jerusalem businesses: Official

A dramatic decline in the number of tourists and hotel reservations is reported in Jerusalem

16.12.2017
US recognition hurts Jerusalem businesses: Official FILE PHOTO - A view of an old market in Hebron, West Bank on July 08, 2017. UNESCO declared in a secret ballot the Old City of Hebron in the occupied West Bank a protected heritage site. Hebron is home to more than 200,000 Palestinians, and a few hundred Israeli settlers who live in a heavily fortified enclave near the site known to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque and to Jews as the Cave of the Patriarchs. ( Issam Rimawi - Anadolu Agency )

By Muhammed Ferid Mahmud Abdullah, Mohamed Sabry Emam Muhammed

JERUSALEM

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has negatively affected businesses in the holy city, according to Jerusalem’s chamber of commerce.

“Trump’s decision has adversely affected the city market and tourism business,” chamber’s director Fadi al-Hidmi told Anadolu Agency on Saturday. 

He said there has been a dramatic decline in the number of tourists and hotel reservations in recent days, causing an economic recession in the city.

"Security concerns are the main reason for this decline,” al-Hidmi said. “Many reservations have been canceled after the U.S. recognition.”

He said even before the U.S. move, Palestinian entreprenuers have complained of the difficulty of getting Israeli licenses to start a tourist business or repair existing shops.

“It will probably be impossible to get a licence from now on,” he said, adding that Israel would use the U.S. move to increase pressure on Palestinians and business owners in the city.

Hidmi said land and apartment prices in Jerusalem were likely to increase dramatically after the U.S. decision.

"In spite of opposition to the U.S. move, companies planning to move their headquarters to Jerusalem will get panicked, which will surely lead to an increase of prices," he said.

Last week, Trump announced recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The move has invited a storm of condemnations and triggered protests in the Palestinian territories and several Arab and Muslim countries.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- now occupied by Israel -- might eventually serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

* Ali Murat Alhas contributed to this report from Ankara

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